When one passes away without having a will, the kind of succession that is to follow is called intestate succession. When a person passes away leaving behind no will, there might arise a lot of confusion regarding what is to happen to his assets, personal property, his real estate, and his finances.
What Is a Will or a Testament will serve as the very foundation of your estate plans. It will decide who your property and other assets go to on the occasion of your death. A will also name a guardian for any minor children that you are leaving behind.
When one passes away, their Will or Testament needs to be approved by the Court having jurisdiction. This process of gaining the court’s approval is called Probate.
Probate is time-consuming and extensive. To make sure it is done properly, you will need to take care that the elements mentioned in your will are in compliance with the law. To make the contents of a Will easier for you, continue reading.
What Should You Never Put In Your Will?
There is a list of the types of properties that you cannot include in a will. They are:
Property Involved In Joint Tenancy
In these types of properties, when one enjoys a joint tenancy and he passes away, the property is by law transferred to the surviving joint tenant notwithstanding any clauses in the will.
Property Involved In Living Tenancy
The property that has already been allocated by a living trust goes to the beneficiaries after the owner dies, even if it is mentioned in a will. In case the property has already been allocated to someone, then such an arrangement can be changed through the trust forms process and not through a will.
Proceeds From Life Insurance That Already Have A Beneficiary
The proceeds from life insurance coming to term will automatically go to the beneficiaries named in it. The beneficiaries often include spouses, kids, and most minor children.
When allocations like these are already made, the court takes care that any will made that coincides with these is left null and void.
Proceeds From A Retirement Plan
When allocating certain property or proceeds from a retirement plan, it should be borne in mind that there are no beneficiaries. This might include the amount held in pension plans, IRA, and 401(K).
Proceeds Originating From Stocks And Bond
Stocks and bonds held by you automatically get transferred to the beneficiary when the person dies. Thus, if you are thinking of forming a will to get a change in the list of your beneficiaries, now is the time to try and reach out to the brokerage to make that happen.
Proceeds On A Payable-On-Death Basis
The guidelines on this are again on the same lines. One is advised to not include proceeds originating from a payable-on-death bank account.
Instead, if one wishes to change the beneficiary, they are advised to get help from the bank authorities.
What Should You Never Put In Your Will? Additional Steps To Look Out For?
A will or a testament is an extremely tricky business. It is best to steer clear of these few points when making a will. Here are a few necessary guidelines you should follow to know what should you never put in your will.
Funeral Details Are Best Not Included
When a near and dear one passes away, chances are that the family members go and visit a funeral home/mortuary services. Going to the lawyer and taking care of the execution of the will are mostly done after funeral arrangements are over.
Thus it is advised to not include details that one would like to be taken care of at their funerals in their will and rather convey them to the family members directly. Instructions or requests regarding funerals are thus not to be made a part of the will, ideally.
Wills Are Not The Doorway To Escaping or Minimizing Tax
Contrary to popular opinion, wills are still subject to taxes. So, if one has thought that including estates in the will can be a successful way to evade heavy estate taxes– that is definitely not legally advisable.
Instead, one can look into trusts and funds that are best suited for their purpose.
Thus, when looking to minimize or be exempt from taxes, trusts are a feasible option, instead of wills.
Will No Means To Escape Probate
If one is resorting to wills as a means to escape probate, then it is unfortunately not how a testamentary succession works. All wills are subject to probate proceedings by the court. Thus, it is best to resort to trusts that best suit the purpose if one is looking to avoid probate. By the use of trust funds, the property is left with the beneficiary while also not resorting to probate procedure as an option.
Unmaintainale Conditions On Gifts
While leaving the property or other assets to one by means of a will, certain types of conditions cannot be enforced by the Court.
For example, Mr. Bixby is leaving his house as a gift to his nephew so long as he does not resort to a change of religion. Mr. Bixby cannot make such conditions in his will, even if it is his property and it should technically be on his terms, or so he feels.
The Court cannot ask any citizen to resort to changing their religion to be eligible for a gift. Therefore, such conditions should be excluded from a will.
Will Left For Illegal Purposes
A will is left for legal purposes and is therefore by nature a legal document. It is a given that any illegal clauses or purposes cannot be a part of the will.
If any efforts are made to potentially “sneak in” any illegally driven element into a testament, the whole document will be declared null and void.
For example, if Mr. Bixby decides to leave an amount of $5000 to his daughter through his will, and has set the purpose of such money to be used for her to try out banned drugs like marijuana, the Will is then automatically declared null and void by the Court.
Will Left For Pets
Although this might be a sentimental issue for many, animals, domesticated or not, are not allowed or capable of property ownership. Thus, it might become impossible for the law to execute a will made out to a pet animal cause they are not eligible to be caretakers of a property.
A Legal Perspective
It is best to hire appropriate legal assistance when looking to draft a will and to know what should you never put in your will. Although the concept of a will makes one face their worst fears- that they might not be around someday, such is the way of life.
All that you or your ancestors have worked for deserves to be carried forward to the people and purposes that you find worthy. Legal aspects are often tricky. An attorney can guide you to take the correct decisions to make sure your wishes are carried out perfectly by the means of a law-abiding precise document.
If you are wondering, “ what should you never put in your will ? ” or “what should you never put in your will in the UK ?”, or any other place for that matter, the guidelines are pretty much the same.
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